The Zoning Board of Appeals will review plans for two proposed retail projects, one on Main Street and another in the Bailey Greens neighborhood. At 2516 Main Street, A&F Property Holdings is proposing a convenience store with gas pumps. The vacant 21,000 sq.ft. property is located at the southwest corner of Main and Fairfield Street across from the Tri Main Center. There was a convenience store located on the site previously. There is a one-story height limit for ‘shopfront buildings’ in the N-3C zone district.
From the project application:
With the proposed lot location being in a “mixed use center” zone and abutting to a “mixed use edge,” the proposal is appropriate to the evolving character of the neighborhood, and does not produce any undesirable changes. Moreover, development of the parcel as a fueling station is consistent with the historic use.
The project requires variances to the required build-to percentage along Main Street: 33 percent is proposed where 85 percent is required. The Green Code also requires the building be located at the corner where as the site plan shows it 89 feet from Fairfield Street. In addition, parking is only permitted at the rear of a building where the site plan shows it at the corner and rear. TRM is project architect.
At 1750-56 Genesee Street, Creative Structures Services is proposing a 9,100 sq.ft. Family Dollar store. Much of the currently-vacant property was recently purchased from the City. A previously proposed Dollar General project received Site Plan Approval from the Planning Board in 2016. The site plan for the previously approved Dollar General did not include a building located along the Genesee Street frontage of the site.
Numerous variances are required. The store is setback five feet from the Genesee Street right-of-way where zero is required. The building is also angled along Zenner Street which does not conform to the required zero foot setback. Interior side yard setback of 57 feet exceeds the 45 feet maximum and the width of the project site (216 feet) exceeds the 150 foot maximum allowed. In addition, the Green Code requires 70 percent transparency on the front façade and only 10 percent is proposed. The corner side transparency is required to be 40 percent and five percent is provided. The building front and side facades are concrete block, a material not permitted on the front and corner side facades. And finally, the interval of vertical articulation on the front and corner facades is greater than permitted (25 foot intervals are permitted verses a proposed interval of 50 feet).
The applicant makes its case for the variances:
The requested area variances are not substantial. In each instance, the magnitude of the area variances is not substantial in the context of the overall project and the character of the surrounding vicinity. The reason the magnitude of the variance is relevant is that, generally, the larger the difference the more likely it is that a negative effect would be generated. However, in any particular case, the facts may demonstrate that while requested area variances may seem noteworthy on paper, no negative effects will be produced and, accordingly, the area variances being sought should be granted.
Civil Architectural is project architect.
The Zoning Board of Appeals will weigh in on both projects at its meeting next Wednesday.